Note: Part 1,Part 2 are here if you missed them.
Some of you may be thinking “I’m not really interested in starting a blog”. That’s okay. However, I believe that there are big opportunities available to those who create online communities. The benefits being accessibility, changing the status quo, education and serving other’s needs.
A great example would be FoldIt– an innovative idea that takes a look at the protein folding problem. How many people do you think are currently trying to predict the 3-dimensional structures of proteins? 500? Maybe….1,000? Try over 105,000. This is what David Baker’s lab at the University of Washington has managed to do. They’ve designed an online game called FoldIt. Participants compete against each other to be the first to properly fold a protein.
Humans are now considered competition for even the most sophisticated prediction servers. Coming to this realization, the Baker lab is now analyzing how humans are solving the protein folding problem. They’re taking that information and incorporating it into their new software. All this is possible, why? Because the Baker Lab has built an online community.
FoldIt is Accessible. It encourages Change by providing a new way to solve the protein folding problem. The participants can Educate themselves and, by solving these structures, educate the Baker lab and help them create new and improved programs. Users are able to serve the scientific community by donating their time and brain power. The scientists, who benefit from this help, can then take these solved structures and, somewhere down the road, use it to give back to the community by, perhaps, introducing new vaccinations or drugs.